Interdependent Web: Our great longings

Interdependent Web: Our great longings

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism.


Our great longings

Andrew Hidas writes that humanity’s “great longing” is for connection.

We are not so different, in many ways, from the animal herd that huddles closely for protection, warmth, and the solace that they bring.

But the solace is in our case spiritual, framing against the gauntlet thrown down by contingent existence our answer: that it is in love for and service to each other, in the “God” seen and expressed through the eyes and hearts of our fellow humans, that this longing for ultimate relationship is finally fulfilled. Only in relationship is the fear and reality of existential isolation overcome. (Traversing, February 22)

The power of prayer is an aspect of her faith that Meghann Robern holds particularly dear.

For me, prayer is working to have a heightened awareness of energy and power and how to shift it around for the good of ourselves and others. . . . We must be aware of our power, or lack of it, in any given situation. We must understand how we can help or harm. (Nature’s Path, February 24)

The Rev. James Ford finds euphemisms about death very annoying.

I’ve long found the phrase “passed away” sticks in my craw. I’m certainly not alone in this. As blogger Brian Jay Stanley observed, “It is a kind of leaving off, a gesture of open-endedness, an ellipsis at sentence’s end. It is, accordingly, the perfect word for the skeptical yet sentimental modern mind, which cannot accept annihilation, nor easily believe in immortality. ‘Passed away’ allows vague hope without dogma, as if to say, ‘He has gone somewhere else, please don’t ask for details.’” (Monkey Mind, February 17)

Using the metaphor of a chrysalis, the Rev. Theresa Novak examines the perils and opportunities of waiting.

Pray the rain won’t wash you away
That the snow will not freeze your bones
That some rude youngster
Won’t light a fuse in your hair
Thinking this is your funeral pyre.
You might just dry up and blow away
Get lost in the winds of change
But rest and wait anyway (Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings, February 23)

Love and politics

Tina Porter asks her Christian friends to think deeply about their political choices in this election year.

I’m thinking about your Bible and the words that are attributed to Jesus and what their message really says in times like these and it really has me wondering: What Would Jesus Do? and who could he support in this American election cycle. . . ?

My dear Christian friends, I know you love me. Even with my sinner’s heart and sailor’s mouth, you see in me the spark of the divine, you see in me what you think God sees in me. I’m asking for your help in extending that love to others who don’t look or live or love or even pray like me or you. (Ugly Pies, February 24)

The Rev. Dan Schatz responds to Donald Trump’s cynical comments about “loving the poorly educated” people of Nevada who voted for him.

We should all love one another, whatever our respective levels of education, and our love should lead us to work for a more just and equitable society. If that can happen, we will have taken a step closer to creating the genuine community our world needs. Perhaps the “better educated” among us might even learn a thing or two. (The Song and the Sigh, February 24)

Practical tools

Theresa Soto provides a helpful, simple way to be more welcoming to people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and mobility devices.

In meeting rooms that have chairs and not pews, leaving out some chairs is an invitation to participate in the life of your church, and that participation was something precious to Jesus. . . .

This detail, almost literally, fulfills an aspect of hospitality that says, “There you are! We’ve been waiting for you. See? We saved you a space.” The people who come to your church are looking for this kind of welcome. They are hoping that their visit matters. (Emerging Voices, February 16)

The Rev. Jake Morrill offers three interlocking puzzle pieces that help clarify self-differentiation.

[It] is the rare person who can “take a stand” and “keep in touch” at the same time without a significant level of anxiety. So, the third puzzle piece is “keep cool.” In other words, regulate your anxiety. Work toward some calm, as you both state your position and also become aware of, and connected to, the different position and perspective of another. There is no end to ways to practice keeping cool, staying calm. Those who are motivated to improve their ability to keep cool will find ways to measure their anxiety and learn what feedback mechanisms (like bio-feedback) help them practice. (Quest for Meaning, February 25)